Reid welcomes Qatada deportation

The government has welcomed the decision to deport Abu Qatada, after the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (Siac) dismissed an appeal in a key test for the government’s anti terror policy.

The commission ruled that the militant cleric is a threat to UK national security and should be deported to Jordan.

The case was seen as a crucial test of the government’s Memoranda of Understanding and home secretary John Reid has welcomed the commission’s ruling.

Mr Reid said: “We are also pleased that the court has recognised the value of Memoranda of Understanding.

“It is our firm belief that these agreements strike the right balance between allowing us to deport individuals who threaten the security of this country and safeguarding the rights of these individuals on their return.”

The memoranda allows the government to deport people to countries accused of torture, as long as special agreements are secured that the deportee will not be ill-treated.

Mr Reid added: “I am very pleased that the court has confirmed this and that this procedure will enable us to meet our international obligations.”

Siac’s judgement ruled: “We have concluded that there is no real risk of persecution of the appellant were he now to be returned with the safeguards and in the circumstances which now apply to him.”

The radical preacher was once described by a Spanish judge as “Osama Bin Laden’s right-hand man in Europe”.